PLANS from Jamie Oliver to bring one of his Italian restaurants to Chelmsford have been hailed as a “big vote of confidence” for the city.

The celebrity Essex boy, 38, who started his highly successful restaurant chain after shooting to culinary stardom as the Naked Chef, wants to move into the former Barclays Bank building in the High Street.

The restaurant, Trattoria, would be only the second of its kind in the country – the first was opened in Richmond, West London last July – and could create up to 40 jobs.

David Birch, director of policy at the Essex Chamber of Commerce, said celebrity Jamie’s seal of approval was good news.

He said: “We welcome any new businesses that come to Chelmsford, and anything that offers variety to people for places to go and eat is very welcome.

“The night-time economy is extremely important these days, and to have someone like Jamie come in, who’s an Essex boy, is an added bonus.

“By him bringing his business here, it’s big a vote of confidence for Chelmsford, and we really welcome that.”

Trattoria is the latest in the TV chef’s chain of Italian restaurants, which are smaller and more rustic than the Jamie’s Kitchen outlets.

Under the planning proposals, the building’s ground floor and basement would be converted into kitchens and dining space with a bar area too.

There are also plans for a decked terrace at the back of the building.